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[[File:Gregory-American-Surveillance-c.jpg|thumbnail|215px|<i>American Surveillance</i> by Anthony Gregory]]
The United States has been conducting surveillance of its citizens since it was created, but the ability of any government to spy on its citizens has dramatically improved in the digital age. How should United States balance national security and personal privacy? Does the Constitution provide adequate protection against unrestricted government surveillance? What can advocates do to strengthen personal privacy rights? These concerns will only intensify in the years to come.
Anthony Gregory's new book <i>[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0299308804/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0299308804&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=88f43e98245c09932f516c1eb8248040 American Surveillance: Intelligence, Privacy and the Fourth Amendment]</i> published by the [https://uwpress.wisc.edu/index.html University of Wisconsin Press] examines the history of surveillance in the United States and grapples with these problems. He examines what the role the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against illegal government searches and seizures has played in protecting Americans from government surveillance and how courts have frequently circumvented it. [https://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/5506.htm Daniel Ellsberg] has described Gregory's book as essential to "those who want to protect liberty, peace and justice, and who want to take the debate to the highest level, will find this book indispensable."
As a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, [http://www.independent.org/aboutus/person_detail.asp?id=506 Gregory] has written pieces published by <i>The Atlantic</i>, <i>Christian Science Monitor</i>, <i>Salon</i>, <i>Reason</i>, and many others, and authored <i>[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1107036437/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1107036437&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=5f711d818f8f22229edfa54064167e1c The Power of Habeas Corpus in America: From the King’s Prerogative to the War on Terror]</i>
Here is our interview with Anthony Gregory.
Surveillance and privacy became some of the biggest civil liberties issues after 9/11, and my boss David Theroux at the [http://www.independent.org/ Independent Institute] urged me to write something in light of the NSA revelations. I had mostly focused on civil liberties in my work there. After my first book, which explored the historical and legal problems posed by detention policy and habeas corpus, surveillance made a lot of sense.
<b>When did the American government start spying on both foreign nationals and its own citizens? What did they hope to achieve?</b>
We have a very different understanding of privacy today. Today it relates much more to the intimate life of the individual rather than private property. Up until the late nineteenth century, there was very little talk of “privacy” in this modern sense; the Fourth Amendment, which rarely inspired court decisions, concerned the integrity over physical bodies and belongings. There were statutory protections of privacy concerning the mail, but government warrantless wiretapping, as an example, was mostly legal because it did not involve physical trespass, but rather intangible signals. The Supreme Court didn’t apply modern conceptions of privacy through the Fourth Amendment until the late 1960s. Conservatives who rail against the modern conception of privacy as discovered by liberal jurists must therefore find another argument against such government wiretapping as conducted by the NSA.
<b>The 4th Amendment protects Americans from “unreasonable searches and seizures,” but it does not appear to be well suited to combating modern surveillance. Has the 4th Amendment served as a meaningful bulwark against expanding surveillance? Should Americans consider drafting a new constitutional amendment to codify American privacy protections that reflect the realities of the new surveillance state?</b>
Ultimately, the policy demands must change for surveillance to lessen. A robust national security infrastructure to police the world will necessarily tend toward energetic intelligence gathering abroad, and some at home. An ambitious domestic program, particularly in crime fighting but also in the policy areas undertaken by our administrative state, will also invariably compromise privacy. These policy priorities must change to make a difference in surveillance, and for them to change, American political culture must change. Legal reform is important but might be a lagging indicator of cultural change.
<b>The need for intelligence and the right to privacy are in opposition to each other. If you want to gather intelligence you will most likely have to violate personal privacy. Has the United States had difficulty balancing the desire to gather intelligence and the right personal privacy? Has this balance shifted over time?</b>